Family Traditions

Elizabeth's breakfast in bed - 2008

Christmas decorating - 2007

When I think about my childhood one of the things that always comes to mind first is all of the traditions we had as a family. My mother had a talent for making simple things special and for bringing out the joy in all occasions. One of my favorite traditions in our house was breakfast in bed on your birthday.

I can't remember the presents or the different birthday parties, but I clearly remember breakfast in bed with my family. My mom would get up extra early and make breakfast that often consisted of cornflakes with a big scoop of ice cream on top (you should try this - it is delicious). She would put it on a tray that was decorated with pretty dishes and beautiful napkins. She would would wake up the rest of the family and they would all come in and wake me up by singing happy birthday. She would always ask if I wanted to open my presents first or eat my breakfast first (I always picked the presents!). Then we would all pile up in the bed and talk and laugh until we had to get ready for the day. Every year I would sit up at night in anticipation of this blessed event. I always knew it was coming and it never failed to be the highlight of my day. Even in college, my mom gathered my siblings and came to my dorm room to continue the tradition.

This tradition (along with others that she created) made me feel apart of something bigger and greater than myself. It created a connectedness that is still strong among my family now. As an adult I learned that my mom used special china and pretty cloth napkins mostly because she was out money to spend on paper goods and that the ice cream was put on the cornflakes in an effort to disguise the lack of biscuits or other more traditional breakfast foods. The presents usually consisted of clothes that we needed and she wanted us to have something "fresh" (as she would say) to wear that day. No matter what else I encountered that day, I always carried with me that feeling that I was special and important to the people that mattered the most to me. What a great thing to be apart of. Now, my siblings all continue this tradition with their own families and find it equally rewarding. It has never been about money or stuff or anything extravagant, just about being apart of something special.

As a mom, I aspire to create the same connectedness in my own family. For the past several years James and I have started a fun holiday tradition in our home. Every year we travel for Thanksgiving and before we leave I get out all of the Christmas decorations, set up the tree, rearrange furniture, vacuum, dust, get the fireplace ready for the stockings and leave town with the house perfectly clean. I set out all of the ornaments and decorations on the dining room table. Sunday night after Thanksgiving we always glad to get home. We bath the kids early, put their new Christmas pj's on (one of Nana's newest traditions), listen to Christmas music, decorate the tree, drink hot chocolate, read the Christmas story from the bible and hang our stockings. It is so much fun and my favorite way to kick off the Christmas season. I really look forward to it and am always glad the "work" part of decorating is out of the way. And now I feel like all that preparation is worth it because....

Yesterday, Tucker asked me when Christmas started. I told him that we celebrate Christmas throughout the Christmas Season which begins right after Thanksgiving and lasts until Christmas day. He said, "No no mom - I mean when do we put the ornaments on the tree and wear our new pajamas?"

Let the holidays begin!!!
I would love to know about other traditions that other families have. I am always looking for new ideas.


Kimberly said...

Ok, I guess we were thinking about the same things today. Thanks for blogging about it too. I love to read your perspective and feel the same. Temporarily forgot about the cornflakes and ice cream. Loved that!

headless chicken said...

That is the best idea about getting the "work part" of decorating overwith. This year, because of very odd circumstances, we will not be home from Thanksgiving until December 9th!!!! I have been struggling with whether to decorate before we leave, or not at all. Now I will definitely do your method, and the kids will not be disappointed!!

Another hurdle is putting away all the fall decor that I love. Twice as big a deal to decorate for Christmas!!